Updated: Jul 28
Do you know how important it is to choose the right music is for your podcast? Music can indeed make - or break - a podcast. Here's why.
1. Music sets the mood. When a listener hits play on a podcast, the music they hear is what sets the mood for the podcast. It also establishes the mood of the listener.
Think about it.
When you listen to a sad song, do you feel it?
And vice versa, do you feel a little more lively in your step when you hear an energetic song? This mood shift is not a coincidence.
Music affects our mood regularly, and a podcast is no exception.
2. Music tells a story. With or without lyrics, music is expressing a story to your audience.
Is your podcast fun, playful, profound, or mysterious?
A listener can tell instantly from a song what it is they want to know about a podcast.
Will they get the thrill of a mystery as the pipe organ kicks in?
Or a Hawaiian podcast with the sound of the ukulele?
Stories are the windows into our soul, and music is the door.
3. Music sticks with listeners. Have you ever listened to a song and had it stuck in your head long after you stopped listening to it?
You're not alone.
Around 90% of people say they get a song stuck in their head at least once a week.
Music beds for podcasts are no different. This "sticky" effect creates greater recall of your podcast and, most importantly, creates an emotional state in the listener that will make them tune in again and again.
So now that you know the why, the question becomes, how do you choose the right music for the podcast?
1. Know Your Ideal Listener. As every first step should be for brands, you want to label your target listener.
This target listener is identical to your target audience, so perhaps it's already done for your brand. Picture them.
What do they look like?
Where are they based?
What do they do for work?
How old are they?
How much money do they make?
And most importantly, why are they tuning into your podcast specifically?
Knowing your listener makes it easier to understand what they will like.
For example, let's say you are a yoga teacher creating a podcast about meditation.
Picture a listener who has a hectic day. Their day is full of work, kids, and devices. All they want is to put on their Airpods and disappear into the soothing sounds of a meditation episode.
Which means you're not going to play a dance or hip-hop track in the background.
Instead, you'll give your listener precisely what they need: soothing, settling, quiet sound.
2. Look at Music as Moods. Search by moods when searching for music that will please your ideal listener.
No, it's that easy!
On a website like Podcastle (which is my FAVE recording and editing platform), they allow you to search by moods.
For example, if you're a fitness coach starting a podcast to help people achieve their goals, an excellent place to start is looking up "uplifting", "powerful", or "exciting" songs.
Another example would be if you're a true crime investigator, you can check out "mysterious" or "intense" music.
3. Always choose copyright-free music. I know how tempting it is to choose a catchy song everyone knows.
But songs you've heard on the radio are more than likely copyrighted and against the law to use.
Listening platforms will catch these and reject your podcast episode immediately!
So here are my top three favourite places to download royalty-free music from.
Podcastle (your one-stop shop to edit and add music directly from their platform!)
Artlist (a monthly subscription for commercial use music)
Pixabay (free for commercial and non-commercial use)
4. Lean toward instrumental music. Lyrics can be a good or bad thing, depending on the usage. Lyrics can be used to boost the story you're telling. However, lyrics playing while you're talking is a hard no.
It can confuse the listener and make it difficult for them to hear you on a podcast.
A nice balance could be finding a lyrical song with extended instrumental sections so your editor can work with both parts.
But in general, we recommend instrumental music because of its ease of use, and sometimes lyrics can even work against a listener's emotional state.
5. Get feedback and advice. Once you've selected some music bed options, reach out to your friends and family.
Tell them about the premise of your podcast and ask them to have a listen to your top three (3) songs and let you know which one resonates with them most.
6. Ask your podcast producer. Perhaps most importantly, have your podcast producer take a listen to your top choices and ask them to select the one that makes the most sense for your podcast.
BONUS: Want free feedback from a group of likeminded health & fitness professionals? Join Brave Moon's FREE community group - and ask everybody to weigh in on your music choices!
We're producers here at Brave Moon Podcasts! Reach out to us today to learn how you can use a professional editor to launch a successful podcast. You can even leave music selection to the experts with our launch offering. Reach out to us today to learn more!
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